LG Concannon

DJ LoveGrove (LG Concannon)

A founding member of Baltimore’s underground “rave” scene, LG began his DJ career in 1989. After becoming an avid record collector in his teens, including a stint at Towson record store, LG first took to DJing on the radio, while a student at Towson State University, with WCVT, which is now WTMD, at the time, the largest college radio station on the east coast. LG hosted three distinctly different shows — an afternoon drive-time slot that featured indie-rock, mostly hot-off the press British imports; an overnight show that highlighted experimental, ethereal, ambient, and industrial; and an early evening Saturday show that was a warm-up to a night out at the club, featuring underground hip-hop, industrial-dance, new-beat, and early techno. It was that Saturday night show that caught the attention of a club DJ / promoter named Scott Henry, who invited LG to open up for a couple of live shows he had booked at Calvert St. Cafe — Front Line Assembly and Meat Beat Manifesto. Not long after, a close friendship with Scott was forged, and he began to him tutoring LG on art of club DJing, leading to early residencies at Calvert St. Cafe and the legendary acid-house club The Metro.

As Acid House and Detroit Techno started to emerge, Baltimore’s club scene was not the right atmosphere for this sound. In 1990 Playschool closed — it had become the home for underground dance music in Baltimore — the club was run by Scott Henry, and LG was a resident DJ. In an effort to keep the scene alive, the Playschool crew decided it was time to host one of those parties they had been reading about in the UK press — and Baltimore’s first rave was organized and held at an artist loft space that winter. Scott Henry and LG were the DJs for that landmark night.

What followed set in motion for what would become Baltimore’s rave scene. Scott joined with Charles Fields (Feelgood) and Tony Japzon to create the roving recurring party called Orbit, that later changed it’s name to Fever. LG started the Atomic Vibe crew with a group of young DJs, first organizing bus trips to Storm Raves in Brooklyn, then creating the Further fanzine, and eventually hosting their own raves and chill out rooms. It was in producing mix tapes for bus trips that LG’s DJing interest turned to “chill out” music. He became an in demand chill out DJ at early events, often with his Atomic Vibe crew taking total aesthetic control of the chill out rooms at both warehouse raves and club nights.

LG parted ways with the Atomic Vibe crew, as chill out become more of focus, and he founded Sonic Soul Productions with DJ Bobble. Sonic Soul would focus entirely on the left side of the dance floor, rather than producing rave events. The developed the CloudWatch parties — a nod to early events produced by Pink Floyd, The Velvet Underground, and The Merry Pranksters — a modern electronic twist on the “happening” that would be a multi-sensory experience. CloudWatch ran from 1994 – 1999, playing host to some of the biggest names in avant-electronic music, including Autechre, Thievery Corporation, Mixmaster Morris, Space Time Continuum, and DJ Spooky.

Another mission of Sonic Soul was to take what was done with the Further fanzine and polish it into a respectable music publication. LG started Retina Magazine, which focused 100% on electronic music, with minimal coverage of the “scene”. It featured interviews with leading producers and DJs, as well as extensive record reviews, particularly of full length CDs, in an effort to draw more attention to the music that was available. The magazine was distributed nationally through record distribution networks — landing in independent record shops throughout the US and UK.

It was during a recording session of a mixtape in 1994 that LG decided to take the moniker of DJ LoveGrove. He was getting more and more gigs and DJ LG just didn’t feel right. He lived on the alley that runs the length of Baltimore, and looking out his window, he saw the name he was looking for, as it fit his initials — Lovegrove St. His professional DJ career took off from that point.

During the late 90s, DJ LoveGrove became one of the leading chill out DJs in the US. The played throughout the country and Canada, made three appearances for The Big Chill Organization in England, as well as Mixmaster Morris’ Nubient club night in London. He released two critically acclaimed CloudWatch CDs, and working with DJ Who, remixed an early downtempo track by Brian Stillwater’s Molecule, that he released on his own Sonic Soul Recordings. Further, he held down local residency spots at Buzz, Fever, and Ultraworld events.

LG’s Sonic Soul Productions was now not only hosting CloudWatch and chill out rooms for large events, but also their own “downtempo” club nights, regularly hosting acts from Ninja Tune. As the 90s were drawing to a close, Sonic Soul began booking more and more “deep house” DJs to play at their club sessions — and LoveGrove’s DJing style moved from the chill out room to Nu-Jazz and Deep House.

In the 2000’s LoveGrove became a fixture of the Baltimore lounge scene, at venues such as GoodLove Bar and The Spot. He partnered with Lonnie Fisher to open up his own lounge, called Sonar, in Canton. After a successful year and half, it was decided to move Sonar to a larger warehouse space downtown, and soon LG parted ways with the venture. During his time at the Canton location, in 2002, LG was voted Baltimore’s Best DJ in the annual City Paper Best of edition.

Soon after leaving Sonar, LG landed at, of all places, Power Plant Live, working alongside DJ Who. Together they brought Mosaic to life, at a spot not usually known for underground music. It was during this time that LoveGrove’s identity had become more synonymous with deep house, as began to DJ alongside Adam Auburn. In 2003, LoveGrove was named Baltimore’s Best DJ by Baltimore Magazine.

With a home base at Mosaic, LG began to regularly book the house music heavy hitters to play Charm City. Artists like Miguel Migs, Kaskade, Marques Wyatt, Mark Farina, Chuck Love, Lisa Shaw, Julius Papp, Jay J, Nicodemus, Spinna, and Mr V all made their Baltimore debuts playing for and with LG. However, it wasn’t just deep house on the menu at Mosaic, as the club also played host to Fort Knox Five on a weekly basis, as well as being the first to book Bassnectar in Baltimore or DC, as well as booking diverse acts like Nu-Jazz DJ Nicola Conte and former Smith’s bassist Andy Rourke.

After a successful 4 year run at Mosaic, LG moved on, as the owners of the venue wanted to move in a more commercial direction. He continued to DJ and promote for six months after, however he soon landed a job in Washington DC that made it difficult to continue as a promoter — In 2008, LG closed up Sonic Soul Productions. At this time, he “semi-retired” from DJing — only taking gigs occasionally from close industry friends. He started a recurring club session called Wax Nostalgic, an all vinyl night dedicated to classics, at Jimmy Valentine’s Lonely Hearts Club in DC, that has been running a couple of times a year since 2010. In May of 2014, partnered with 88 Productions to host a 20 year CloudWatch Anniversary event at The Blind Whino in DC. Also this year, he started a monthly residency for Red Maple on Friday nights.

At 45, he has been DJing for over 25 years. What started out as a student radio show went to toting 6 milk-crates of 12”s to play a 5 hour set of “a little bit of everything” at a small club — to carrying a heavy flight case full of chill out records to play some of the craziest events ever to be produced — to playing CDs at the coolest lounge venues in Baltimore and DC. On day he plans to write a book about the crazy adventures and unbelievable experience he has had.